No. 217: "Unlisted"

No. 217: "Unlisted"

No. 217: "Unlisted"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
April 2 1999 3:30 AM

No. 217: "Unlisted"

Up until Tuesday, Texan Robert White was No. 4 on a list of 3,600. What's the list and how did he get off it?

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by noon ET Thursday to e-mail your answer to newsquiz@slate.com.

Tuesday's Question (No. 216)--"Yin and Yang?":

In Belgrade, one group includes the American Center, the British Council, the Goethe Institute, and the French Cultural Center; the other group includes the Original Levi's Store and You've Got Mail. What's the distinction?

"Oh, like we need to know something about a place before we bomb it."--Daniel Radosh

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"The first group got the lamb's blood 'X' on the door."--Beth Sherman

"Things that were burnt down and things that should have been burnt down."--Kenton A. Hoover (Katherine Hobson and Chris Thomas had similar answers.)

"The latter contain no copies of The Sorrows of Young Werther."--Greg Diamond

"Aw, jeez, have Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan sided with the Serbs already?"--Tim Carvell

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Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

News Quiz goes to war. And damned uneasily. If we neglect the war, the quiz is marginalized into News of the Weird; if we refer to it, we risk trivializing genuine suffering. Catch 22 was funny about war by blasting the Army's bureaucratic madness. M*A*S*H--at least the TV version--offered a pseudo-anti-war stance while enjoying frat boy high jinks: I believe their contract with CBS required that in every third episode the entire camp would see Loretta Swit in the shower and then Alan Alda would wring his hands sensitively. My father (infantry, World War II) had a favorite scene in a service comedy: in No Time for Sergeants, when Andy Griffith made those toilet seats stand at attention. Not strictly speaking a war picture, but it was very, very funny.

I suppose it is better for News Quiz to risk being overly dark than to risk being overly Stephen Ambrose, who seems to find war, at least World War II, so thoroughly enjoyable that we should do it again and again. The millions died delightfully.

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Evil of Banality Answer

Group 1: bad NATO stuff. Group 2: good NATO stuff.

While cops stood idly by, mobs trashed the buildings listed above, but they spared the Levi's outlet across the street from the American Center, and rentals of that marvelous Nora Ephron movie remain high, notes Steven Erlanger in the New York Times, so some good has come from these tragic events.

The worst part of the bombings? They're boring and there's nothing on television. Erlanger quotes one Serb: "There is a deepening sense of boredom--the war is really very boring, especially with this monotonous war propaganda on the news. My son is bored; he can't go out, except to visit friends in their shelters, where it's boring. My little one is bored, because all her favorite cartoons like Power Rangers have been replaced by those interminable news programs."

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Either/Or Extra

  • "They deny everything. They essentially say to their very best customers that you get what's coming to you for believing us."--lawyer William Gaylord refers either to the ad campaign for The Mod Squad that lured hundreds of Americans to theaters, or to Philip Morris, which was just ordered by an Oregon jury to pay $81 million to the family of a dead Marlboro smoker
  •  "They are important when they bring in tourists. If not, they are not."--Ignatius Byamugyisha refers either to Cher's breasts, which could attract hundreds of people to the Universal Studios Tour, or to endangered Ugandan gorillas whose habitat is coveted by local farmers
  • "Man, if I can continue to do that good, who knows? The sky's the limit."--Rudolph Giuliani is either cheerfully befuddled about his plummeting approval ratings or gigglingly mean about the support he's reaped from an anti-Hillary Clinton Web site
  • "This is the first time in all my visits that they've given me a hopeful sign."--Motion Picture Association of America Chairman Jack Valenti refers either to his midnight break-ins at the Baldwin brothers compound or to his trip to China to promote American movies

Common Denominator

The odd misconception that NATO would bomb the American Center.